D is for D’oh!

So I had this brilliant post started and then d’oh hit me. I erased every word and it was lost forever.
This is the replacement post. I’m sticking with the same theme, but I know in my heart that it isn’t the same as the one I lost, not just because I had to admit that I lost it.
Maybe it was only brilliant in my own mind. But it seemed good and now, it’s gone.
Okay, that wasn’t what this post was supposed to be about, but it certainly qualifies as a d’oh moment.
What I meant to write is that I am not a literary fiction writer. This will come as no surprise to people who know me or have read my writing.
Yet yesterday, a pair of writer friends were discussing submissions, specifically to Glimmertrain and Ploughshares, and one of them said something like, “After reading the sample copy, I was unimpressed. The story didn’t seem to have a plot or characters or really a story.”
She did the proper research, read the sample copy and studied the guidelines, but submitted anyway, knowing her story didn’t really fit.
What she added next was the real point. “I need to find markets for my stories instead of trying to fit my stories into the wrong markets.”
And that’s when I did the forehead slap, d’oh!
I know I don’t write literary fiction. I don’t even like most literary fiction.
So why would I want to sell my work to a literary magazine?
Well, honestly, that’s an easy question to answer: circulation, prestige and money.
When you write fiction for a living you want two of those things pretty seriously and the other one would be nice. I want to make enough money writing fiction to eat, preferably something other than Ramen noodles.
Right now, while living on what I make from fiction would seriously support my weight loss goals, it’s not even enough to keep me in noodles.
And I’d really like for someone I’ve never met online or in real life to be reading my work. There’s that desire for circulation.
Prestige. Well, don’t we all want to be acknowledged for the things we do? Don’t we all want to be told we do them well?
So yeah, the appeal of the truly prestigious, well-read and high-paying magazines is legitimate.
But they aren’t for me.
My d’oh moment made me realize that I don’t want to be published there. I wouldn’t turn it down, for certain, and if I ever write anything appropriate for that market, I’ll bite my tongue and retract that statement. But right now, it isn’t right for me or my work.
I want to write things I would like to read. I want people who read what I write to like it. So why would I want to write for a publisher who prints things I wouldn’t read?
Definitely a Homer-like d’oh moment.
This year I have dozens of different writing goals, but one of the most important is to remember to write for the audience that I want to capture, not for the money, the readership or the prestige.
But if any of those happened to come along too, I wouldn’t kick them in the shins.
I promise.

One Response to “D is for D’oh!”
  1. Derek Odom says:

    I hear you, there!

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